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How much to deliver a baby? Charges vary widely by hospital

Kaiser Health News, January 17, 2014

Hospital charges for labor and delivery vary so widely from one California medical center to another that some facilities charge women eight to 11 times more than others, according to a new study. Comparing nearly 110,000 uncomplicated births and Caesarean sections, researchers found the lowest charge for a vaginal birth involving an average woman was $3,296, while the highest was $37,227. For an uncomplicated Caesarean delivery, the lowest charge was about $8,312, while the highest was $70,908. The hospital charges – which did not include physician fees or charges for the baby's care – were adjusted to compare patients with similar profiles who were of the same age and hospitalized for the same amount of time, the authors said.